Knowing When and How To Harvest Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms grow naturally in the wild and can also be successfully cultivated.   Knowing when and how to harvest the Shiitake Mushrooms will provide a wonderful addition to your culinary efforts.

The Shiitake mushroom is ready for harvest with the mushroom cap is opened about 50-70%.  This is generally about when the veil breaks.  The veil is located between the stem and cap.     It is during this stage the cap edges remain rolled beneath the cap.

Harvesting Shiitake from logs
Shiitake mushrooms can be broken from the log upon which they are growing by using a twisting and pulling motion.   The mushrooms can also be removed by cutting them from the bark of log.  There should only be a small amount of wood remaining on the stem.    You can trim the stem base off using scissors or a knife after harvesting.

Harvesting Shiitake from sawdust
Sawdust grown shiitake usually have stems that are longer than those gone on logs.  You will want to trim the stems to prevent the sawdust which clings to the stems from falling into the gills of other mushrooms.  Keep the stem length under two thirds of the size of the cap diameter.

The fresh picked mushrooms should be placed in a container providing maximum ventilation and cooling.  Plastic containers specifically for mushrooms can be purchased.  These containers usually accommodate 6-15 pounds of mushrooms.

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